The Role of Higher Education in Economic Development

Executive Speeches, December 2002 | Go to article overview

The Role of Higher Education in Economic Development


Thank you, Roy Church, for your much too kind introduction and for your distinguished leadership of Lorain Community College. Your success has been impressive, and its recognition across the country is richly deserved.

And thank you ladies and gentlemen for the opportunity to be a part of the City Club's forum on higher education.

Let me also recognize and express our collective appreciation to Chuck Hickman, NOCHE's new executive director, and Len Calabrese and Jim Foster of The City Club of Cleveland, who together have brought us these informative sessions on higher education issues in Ohio.

I wish I could acknowledge all of my colleagues here today who have been so supportive since I came to Ohio three and a half years ago. Let me just mention my colleague Seth Taft; and Seth, I look forward to your questions as always. Also, two members of The University of Akron Board of Trustees are with us today: Dr. Mark Apte, vice chairman, and Mrs. Diane Fisher. Thank you for joining me here today.

At the outset, I want to thank Doug Wilson of Indiana University for first suggesting the context-setting approach that I will use to open my formal remarks.

All governors of Ohio, past, present and future, aspire to create a healthy economic climate. They all work diligently to attract major enterprises with the capacity to have a significant impact on the economy of Ohio.

In a dream, one of these distinguished governors is excited because after great effort of his own, his staff, members of the General Assembly and key business leaders across the state, it appears that a truly major enterprise is about to locate in Ohio.

GREAT NEWS!

This clean, non-polluting, high-technology enterprise is part of a global conglomerate with annual worldwide revenues of half a trillion dollars, of which about $200 billion is in the U.S.

It has proposed an investment in Ohio that is expected to generate $7 billion in annual revenues, just in Ohio, and it will locate facilities in about 175 municipalities across the state for a net capital investment of some $15 billion.

What is more, it will create about 130,000 jobs for Ohioans, with an unusually high percentage of those jobs requiring at least a bachelor's degree and about 30,000 of those jobs requiring advanced training in science and engineering at the master's or doctoral level.

In Northeast Ohio alone, the company will have 22 locations, it will create 25,000 jobs and will generate about $2.5 billion in annual revenues.

For its Ohio operations, this enterprise anticipates that it will have about 675,000 primary customers, with about 15% of them from other states and from countries around the world. Its non-Ohio revenues will be nearly $2 billion, with half of that resulting from contracts and grants from the federal government.

Already, the company enjoys hundreds of thousands of stockholders in Ohio, with the prospect of a healthy rate of growth in the percentage of individual investors.

Of course, thousands of Ohio suppliers will benefit from this enterprise, and the net economic impact to Ohio is calculated to begin at about $32 billion per year and to grow annually at the rate of 15% to 25%.

BIG NEWS INDEED!

As the dream unfolds, the Director of the Ohio Department of Development rushes into the Governor's office and proclaims excitedly, "We got it! We got it!"

Everywhere, celebrations break out and there is much excitement and anticipation. Chrome-plated shovels and construction helmets are readied for all of the groundbreaking photo opportunities across the state. The media is ecstatic and showers the Governor and his team with a running stream of praise in its editorial and front pages.

By November, the Governor is re-elected by a landslide vote and economic growth is above the national average, bringing Ohio, once again, to a position of leadership in our nation. …

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